The first part is done.
You've made some amazing music and fans want to hear you perform live. Pat yourself on the back for getting this far, it takes real talent and hard work.
Touring is intense, but it pays off. These days, it's tours rather than record sales that earn the most money for musicians, but there's a lot to consider and carefully plan to make your first tour a success. Follow these tips and you’ll be rocking with panache.
Start with lists. Lots of them.
Sit down and itemise everything you need on the road. This isn't just your gear, it's clothes and everyday items. Take it all with you and you won't be running around looking for convenience stores and wasting time you could be spending on your pre-show rituals.
Think about who you need to hire, and what you can do yourself.
Depending on your budget, it may not be practical to hire a crew big enough to move a village. Beyonce may have needed seven 747s and 70 trucks to take her Formation tour to the UK last year, but she's the Queen Bee for a reason. You don't want to get yourself in debt trying to emulate others that have been touring for years.
On your first tour, draw up a budget and stick to it. It can be tempting to blow out on drinks and fun while you're on the road, but you want to make sure the tour generates a profit so you can do it again.
Decide where to rock the house.
Have a huddle with your manager and think about where you want to play. Consider where your fan base is the largest – you might even do a call out on your Facebook page to gauge the level of interest. Australia is a land of vast distances that makes trying to go everywhere very difficult and you're better off with a manageable schedule rather than making you or your bandmates miserable or homesick. Try and come up with a wish list of venues but be flexible. Places you miss out on can be top of the list next time around.
Find a logistics company that lives and breathes tours.
Delays could mean cancelled shows and disappointed fans, but a good logistics company will ensure your gear gets from one venue to the next. It's a tight operation that requires careful planning, and you can make their life easier by being as organised as possible.
Even if you're a well-seasoned traveller you're better off letting the pros handle the travel arrangements – there's a lot more at stake than just a bad holiday. Specialist companies like Stage and Screen Travel Services have decades of experience and can put together a tailored itinerary that includes extras like luggage allowance waivers, artist privacy and extra security, and will make sure any special requests are met. Stage and Screen also offer 24-hour emergency support with an After Hours team based in Australia. They have a handover each day with the day time Travel Managers so if things start to go awry when you're on the road, they're ready and waiting.
Don't let stage fright take over.
Mindfulness exercises are a great way to get your head around performing in front of large crowds in unfamiliar environments. It's an incredible feeling to play in front of a live audience, but it can be nerve-wracking in the early days. Warm up your voice, stay focused and make sure the band knows every chord of every song. When you walk out on stage, you want to feel like you've never been more ready for anything else in your life. Savour that moment.
Written by Drew Turney